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Michael Beach Fights for His Soul in ‘Immanence’

Michael Beach Fights for His Soul in ‘Immanence’

While for some a dream vacation may be an island get-a-way, for others it’s searching for aliens (HEBs or Highly Evolved Beings) in the Bermuda triangle. Buffalo 8’s Immanence tells the story of a crew of astrophysicists who go on a journey for the find of a lifetime and the boat captain who may have other, more divine plans in mind. 

In the film, “immanence” refers to God’s omnipresence and domain over the Earth. The scientists charter a boat after seeing astronomical anomalies happening at impossible times. The scientists see these events as signs of intelligent life, while others see them as “signs and wonders following” (a reference to Biblical teaching). The primary one who sees the latter is Michael Beach’s character Jonah. 

Jonah is a devout and spiritual man who suffered an accident that proved fatal for three minutes. Since then he’s been on a quest to find “the real thing.” During the downtime of this quest he drives a party boat owned by his friend Davis (Eugene Byrd). His seeming counterpart is Naomi (Summer Bellessa), a scientist, though her mother is very religious. She and her team of four rent Davis’ boat giving him very little details about the trip. By chance (or fate), Jonah seems to be around when several incidents too specific to be coincidence occur. Within the borders of the Bermuda Triangle, the six souls can only hope to be saved. 

Star and producer Michael Beach is a seasoned and prolific actor. In the past few years alone he’s appeared in a number of notable projects such as The 100 and Truth Be Told as well as Mayor of Kingstown. Beach always has a level of comfort and confidence in every performance, which lends a sense of authenticity to his roles. I got to Zoom with Beach about his part in this thought-provoking film and how some of the deeper themes are relevant today. 

How did you get involved with the film?

I always try to stay connected to indies and shorts. You never really know how they come to you because they don’t usually come through the normal chain of events. This one was no different. My wife and I had our kids in a dance company, and one of the families there was Summer and Kerry [Bellessa, the lead star and her husband, the writer/director of the film]. So they gave me a copy of the script, and I really enjoyed it. There were some things I wanted to do with the script, and they were willing to do it. 

How much experience do you have producing and how did that play out in this project?

I’ve done it about three or four other times. When I come on as a producer, it’s mainly about the script — really trying to make sense of it, make it clear, a little more dynamic. Then I can call a bunch of actors, you know? I can help bring a strong cast to the picture. I don’t do a lot of the logistical stuff. That was mostly Kerry and Summer. 

The script does a lot of heavy lifting especially when it comes to mixing the more theological concepts with astrophysiology. Where was the happy medium when it came to finding that balance?

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One thing we were concerned about was, let’s not make it too much gobbledy gook. It was these two competing ideas — science vs. religion — that grabbed me right off the bat. We wanted to keep that but make it interesting. I’ve always thought that the problem with a lot of these films is they don’t break up the tension with a little levity. That’s where the Davis (Eugene Byrd) character comes in. It was very important that we keep the tension and keep those differing opinions alive but also that we give ourselves a break every once in a while. 

For you, who does Naomi play in the film?

Naomi was the bridge. It’s like she’s in between both worlds because of her past. Her mother is very religious and she’s an astronomer. So you have Roman (Anthony Ruivivar) on one side and my character Jonah on opposite sides. It’s almost like we’re fighting for her soul. 

Kind of like an angel and a devil?

Right! One of the things, when we started doing in rewrites, was push that Naomi is more like the audience, that they’re caught in the middle. Naomi knows a little bit of this world and a little bit of that world, whereas Roman and I, we’re not gifted in each other’s worlds, just our own. 

In that vein, what role does your character Jonah play?

Well, because of an experience he had years ago, in my head he has completely destroyed his life. All he exists for is to try to connect with the type of experience he had before. So that’s why he’s on the boat in the first place. Jonah always knew that the closer they got to this particular area, the more likely it would be that he would reconnect with his past. So as soon as these astrophysicists come and say, “This is where we want to go,” that’s exactly what Jonah has been hoping and waiting for. He’s looking for trouble, to be honest, and hoping he can survive it. 

When watching Immanence are there any themes you want the audience to discover or any take-a-ways?

I’m never a big guy for telling people what they should think after they view something, but hopefully, you will have discussions and you’ll think a bit more about the other point of view. When people are discussing the relevant points that they may not agree with but they’ve been intrigued by, I think that’s an exciting thing. There’s so much to discuss, but there’s no reason to argue about it. I respect that you believe this and you don’t believe that and it’s fine, but let’s talk about it!

Immanence is an entertaining sci-fi thriller that will have you on social media directly after to see others’ thoughts on the film. It’s an enjoyable experience. Next, Beach will star in BET’s Kingdom Business, which takes a look behind the scenes of the Gospel music industry. You won’t want to miss it!

Immanence will be available on VOD on Friday, February 4, 2022. 

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